Author: Heidi Ayarbe
Release Date: May 2012
Published By: Balzer and Bray
Goodreads Rating: 4.50 stars
Review: Michal "Mike" Garcia is a seventeen-year-old bookie, and all she needs to do is send a one-word text saying "sanctuary" to gather a crowd. She takes bets but never takes a risk herself. Then Josh Ellison comes to town. He encourages her to feel the thrill, to finally participate in the thrill-seeking sport she could only watch for so long. So she does. And loses. Now she and Josh concoct a plan to steal from the rich to pay back her debt and help her friends, but then everything goes horribly, horribly awry.
WANTED introduces the readers to an intriguing new concept: a girl who doubles as a bookie, taking bets from gamblers, addicted and normal alike. Mike's job only serves to show the kind of resourceful and collected character she is, and throughout the novel, even as times became harder and harder, I admired her strength in the face of adversity.
Although Mike was an admirable character, she still had her flaws and made some decisions that, well, weren't exactly the greatest. However, unlike in some other books, her occasionally stupid decisions didn't make me dislike her or feel as if she herself is stupid. Instead, they were normal bad choices that everyone could make at one point or another and gave her more dimensionality as a character.
This novel had not only a good beginning, but an excellent ending as well. I won't reveal what happened because I don't believe in putting spoilers on my blog, but the last few pages made my eyes blur quite a bit. It was definitely not something I saw coming and left me in a state of both shock and, somehow, being content. There is a quality of this ending that leaves with you a quiet sense of satisfaction, and that's something I crave in every book.
All in all, WANTED is a novel I'd recommend to anyone who wants a gritty, hard-hitting contemporary novel. Heidi Ayarbe has proved herself time and time again to be a master at such contemporary fiction, and this book is no exception. Read this for an impacting ending and true-to-life characters that you are unlikely to forget for a long, long time.